Rocky Mount Prep never practiced the victory formation.
It wasn’t because the Jaguars didn’t think they’d need it or didn’t think they’d win Friday. It was just an oversight on coach Don Reams’ part.
He certainly was glad to call a quarterback kneel down with 31 seconds to play at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.
The Jaguars needed to call it only once.
And as the clock ran out, fullback Jarod Parker carried running back Xavier Bunch off the field on his back. Sophomore Mark Tann walked through his cheering teammates and the rain, thanking each coach.
Senior lineman Chris Perry wept in the post-game huddle and long after the majority of the Jaguars headed to the locker room.
On Friday, Rocky Mount Prep not only walked off the field after hosting its first varsity game in the program’s history, but it also walked off winners for the first time in school history after defeating Gaston KIPP-Pride, 6-0, on a last-minute touchdown run.
“I’m used to losing, and now, we got a win,” said Perry, wiping tears from his eyes. “It’s a big win.”
Behind a surprisingly stout defense, Rocky Mount Prep (1-0) pulled off a late touchdown – fending off multiple setbacks that might have cost the Jaguars the victory last season.
The Jaguars fumbled away a potential touchdown on the final play of the first half. They were scored on multiple times only to have the long runs called back because of penalties.
When Rocky Mount Prep first found the end zone in the fourth quarter, Bunch’s long run was called back on a holding penalty.
“Last year, they probably would have just folded the tent, but this year, they’re much tougher,” Reams said.
Four plays after Bunch’s score was erased, Tann took the snap and found an opening on the left side of the offensive line, running 13 yards into the end zone.
“Mark was real huge,” Perry said. “He turned it up. He didn’t turn around and go backwards like usually. He kept trucking.”
Tann finished with 135 yards on 18 carries, and Bunch added 84 yards.
Tann’s total was more than KIPP-Pride’s total yardage, thanks to a Jaguars defense that stood tall. Rocky Mount Prep stopped the Panthers within the 30-yard line twice, and although the Jaguars didn’t force any turnovers, they allowed just 56 yards in the second half.
“Defense wins games, offense just sells tickets,” Parker said with a laugh. “At least that’s what everybody says.”
Rocky Mount Prep 6
Gaston KIPP Pride 0
GKP 0 0 0 0 – 0
RMP 0 0 0 6 – 6
RMP – Mark Tann 7 run (run failed),
5 First downs................10
12 Passing yards..............24
112 Total offense.............247
Rushing – GKP: Larry Cotton 9-65; KaDarius Goode 11-40; Markee Weaver 2-6; DeVaughn Chrisp 3-(-11). RMP: Mark Tann 18-135; Xavier Bunch 12-84; Jarod Parker 7-8; Isaiah Lynch 2-(-2).
Passing – GKP: Chrisp 1-8-0 12.. RMP: Tann 2-2-0 24; Lynch 0-1 0.
Receiving – GKP: Cotton 1-12.. RMP: Parker 2-24.
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or jhite